The Groton - Cortland communities have sadly lost a loving and caring community member on Thursday, August 23, 2018 when Eileen P. Urda of Groton passed away after fighting a courageous battle against Stage IV breast cancer. Her cheerful smile, sparkling eyes and her willingness to volunteer wherever there was a need, touched so many people over the years.
During the Vietnam war, she traveled to Yokosuka, Japan with her husband Joe, who was a Navy Corpsman and Navy Mortician at the Far East Mortuary. There she became the secretary to the director of American Red Cross at the Yokosuka Navel Hospital. In that position. she volunteered to write letters home for Marines and Sailors who lost their eye site, limbs, or suffered severe wounds in the war. Upon returning home to the states, she and her husband came to Cortland where he had taken a position at the Wright-Beard Funeral Home. Eileen became a Board Member of the Cortland County Red Cross. She was employed by the First National Bank of Cortland as a teller and then moved up to the Trust Department. She was a member the Cortland Memorial Hospital Aide Society. Eileen served as Co-Chair of the Groton Festival Days Hot Air Balloon Rally. She was the first female member admitted to the Groton Rotary Club and chaired several club projects and served as it's president. She was very involved in the Rotary Youth Exchange Program for many years and hosted several students. She was awarded the prestigious Rotary International Paul Harris Fellowship Award.
Eileen was very patriotic, even more so with her involvement with the wounded troops. Her patriotism was especially visible in the decoration of her 1830 farm house. She was a dedicated caretaker of the Groton area Route 38 Vietnam Memorial Highway Gardens established by the Groton Rotary Club. Her most outstanding patriotic display was when she decided that the Village Green in Windsor, NY needed to be a place to honor and remember veterans of all wars on Memorial Day. She and her husband and his siblings got permission to place fifty large flags on the green. Now it is a project of the Windsor Presbyterian Church with nearly 200 American flags flying on Memorial Day. It is a very moving site to see. Prior to her recent retirement she was a Claims Manager at Security Insurance Company and she was a sixty-one year member of the community of families on Beaver Lake, Windsor, NY
Eileen is survived by Joseph, her husband of 51 years, their daughter, Kerri Field and son-in-law Scott Field. She is also survived by brothers Larry (Ginny) Hart, Spencer Port, NY, Dennis Hart, Binghamton, NY and Jack (Olga) Hart, Tucson, AZ. and many cousins, nieces and nephews. She was preceded in death by her father Donald A. Hart and mother Helen P. (Dow) Hart and brother James Hart, Pheonixville, Pa. In addition to her family members, Eileen leaves a legacy that will live on in all those friends who will forever remember her.
Special appreciation from Joe, Kerri and Scott goes to Dr. Bong's surgical deftness that added so many more years to her life. The family would like to offer special thanks to Dr. Lemke, Oncologist and the oncology nurses at Upstate Medical Center, and most recently, Dr. Bael, Oncologist along with the very special oncology nurses at Cayuga Medical Center. They maintained a level of comfort for Eileen during several years of chemo infusions. There are so many medical professionals, from the ER to radiology, who became family to her. And lastly, the home Hospice Care team who treated her with such compassion and care. We are truly thankful for all that you did for her.
Calling hours for Eileen will be held from 2 until 5 o'clock Sunday, August 26, 2018 at the Wright-Beard Funeral Home, 9 Lincoln Ave., Cortland, NY and a Mass of Christian Burial will be offered at 10:30 Monday at St. Mary's Roman Catholic Church, 59 North Main St., Cortland, NY
Please consider contributions to the Cancer Resource Center of the Finger Lakes or St. Jude Children's Cancer Research Center,